London, 30/4/15. The Musicians’ Union (MU), The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music were in the High Court this week for the long awaited judicial review of Government’s decision to introduce a private copying exception without fair compensation to songwriters, composers and musicians, which is in contravention of EU law. The hearing, presided over by Mr Justice Green saw the High Court examining the Government’s decision to ensure that it was made in a lawful way.
The MU, BASCA and UK Music have challenged the legislation as it incorrectly implements the law by failing to include fair compensation for musicians, composers and rights holders. The private copying exception will damage the musician and composer community. It contravenes Article 5 (2) (b) of the Copyright Directive which includes a requirement that where a member state provides for such a copyright exception – as the UK now has – it must also provide fair compensation for rights holders. It is the compensatory element of a private copying exception that lies at the heart of EU law and underpins common respect for the songwriters, composers and musicians whose work is copied.
The decision of the UK Government not to provide fair compensation to songwriters, composers and musicians is in stark contrast to the vast majority of countries in Europe who have introduced private copying exceptions. The absence of a compensatory mechanism led to this judicial review being applied for. Our intention is that a successful challenge will lead to the decision being re-made properly, with the legislation amended appropriately.
The outcome of the judicial review from Mr Justice Green, is expected to be handed down within the next month.